Last year I took on a challenge I didn’t think I’d be able to complete. Along with friends and colleagues, I signed up to cycle from Paris to London… in a heat wave! I was a novice cyclist (I’m a more natural runner – not!!) and quite nervous. Over three days, we cycled through cities, countryside and coastline, up the mall to Buckingham Palace and we raised an incredible £45,000 for an incredible charity. Proud doesn’t even come close!
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has always had a special place in my heart. They exist to grant wishes to seriously ill children – whether that wish is a trip to Disneyland or to meet Simon Cowell. Their work is truly touching and I urge you to head on over to their website and read a few of the stories so you can see for yourself where your money is going (have a tissue to hand, perhaps). They are inspirational and we were so pleased to be able to have raised such an amount for them.
Flic and I went to present Make-A-Wish with their cheque and while we were there, we were inspired to sign up to their very first London Landmarks event. A half marathon, in central London, passing world famous landmarks, all the while raising money for a fantastic charity, what’s not to love about that?
With a lot of coercion, I managed to convince novice runner Camilla (who had never ran a half marathon!) to join us and with that, we got to training. We didn’t necessarily train together, we’re all busy people with hectic jobs and lifestyles, but we were there for each other for moral support. We set up a WhatsApp group for motivation, food tips and if nothing else, I had to keep reminding the two of them to stay hydrated!
The day arrived. After carb loading the night before (lasagne, pasta, garlic bread all round!), I had my famous Scottish porridge for breakfast (that’s porridge, water and a pinch of salt for those who I’ve not told!). It was especially hard to get up; the hour went forward and we had to be up at the crack of dawn.
We expected the biggest challenge of the day to be the half marathon but in fact, getting there was our first challenge.
I’ll tell you now, we were the only ones running that morning, because trains, tubes and public transport wasn’t! However, we are resourceful, strong women we made it there in the end! Finally we made it to the start line, where we did start together but had agreed to do this at our own pace and meet up at the Finish Line.
The run itself was fantastic! At 11 degrees the weather was optimum temperature for running. Considering we’d had snow the weekend before, we were predicted snow the following weekend, it felt quite serendipitous.
It was so well organised, and unlike other marathons I’ve done, it was educational! Throughout the 13 miles, fun facts were signposted: “look left, look right” and we’d have a little information on the city! Did you know Waterloo Bridge was built by women during the war? We went past Pudding Lane, famously the source of the Great Fire which burned for five days. We weaved our way all through the city, we saw the cheese grater, gherkin, the walkie-talkie and we finished up on Pall Mall.
We finished at different times, but celebrated our (opening!) medals together!
For anyone looking for a fun, educational and different marathon, raising money for a truly inspirational charity, then I’d highly recommend the London Landmarks. And if you do sign up for it, let me know and let’s celebrate together at the finish line!